(Born at Salzburg, January 27, 1756;
died at Vienna, December 5, 1791)
IN THIS LIFE that is "so daily," as Jules Laforgue complained, a life of tomorrow rather than of today, we are inclined to patronize the ancient worthies who in their own period were very modern, or to speak jauntily of them as bores, with their works of "only historical interest." Mozart has not escaped. Many concertgoers yawn at his name and wonder why such men as Richard Strauss or Vincent d'Indy could praise him with glowing cheeks. They suspect this attribute of worship to be a pose. Remind them of the fact that to such widely different characters as Rossini, Chopin, Tchaikovsky, Brahms, the musician of musicians was Mozart, and they say lightly, "There's no accounting for tastes; surely you do not pretend to maintain that Mozart is a man of this generation."
No, Mozart was neither a symbolist nor a pessimist. He was not a translator of literature, sculpture, or painting into music. His imagination was not fired by a metaphysical treatise. He simply wrote music that came into his head and disquieted him until it was jotted down on paper. He did not go about nervously seeking for ideas. His music is never the passionate cry, never the wild shriek of a racked soul. His music is never hysterical, it is never morbid. It is seldom emotional as we necessarily and unhappily understand that word today. Perhaps for these reasons it is still modern, immortal, and not merely on account of the long and ex